Joint Operational Protocol between the CQC and the GMC

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) and General Medical Council (GMC) have recently published a joint operational protocol.

This protocol is part of a suite of guidance tools called the Joint Working Framework.

The protocol is intended to support staff from the CQC and GMC as they work together to protect patients and promote high standards. It builds on the existing memorandum of understanding to provide an operational model for staff of both organisations.

The protocol al sets out when and how the CQC and GMC will share strategy, communications and operational information.  It outlines key contacts in each organisation and ensures there is always a clear point of contact within each organisation by having a single email address for sharing information.

This protocol is set out in five sections, covering the range of information shared by the organisations with each other, as well as the format and forums:

  • Routine data sharing
    • Information provided by the GMC for CQC inspection activity.
    • GMC shares its monthly summary on enhanced monitoring.
    • CQC shares a weekly output covering the most recent judgements.
    • GMC sends a monthly decision circular to the CQC listing all sanction and warnings brought against UK registered doctors.
    • GMC tells the CQC about forthcoming fitness to practice panel hearings.
  • Emerging and urgent concerns
    • Concerns about an individual doctor’s fitness to practice.
    • Concerns about an individual doctor’s registration and revalidation.
    • Concerns about the quality of education, systems or environment.
    • Concerns about the systems that should be in place to safeguard patients eg. Issues to do with staffing, management/leadership, equipment and premises and patient safety.
  • Local regulatory alignment (liaison) – which is an opportunity for the GMC and CQC to align activity and share information at a local level as well as co-ordinating ongoing activity to reduce regulatory burden.
  • Risk and quality summits
    • Quality Surveillance Groups (QSGs) which bring together different parts of health and care system, to share intelligence about risks to quality and align to Joint Strategic Oversight Groups (JSOGs).
    • CQC Quality Summits which consist of the development of a plan of action and recommendations based on inspection findings and may involve the GMC.
  • Strategic collaboration
    • Strategy and communications will be managed through ongoing conversations between CQC and GMC teams and in the joint working group.
    • Press and publications will involve each organisation giving the other adequate warning (where possible) of any planned public announcements.
    • Evidence to parliamentary committees and central government in relation to the operation of the regulatory regime or the exercise of the functions of the CQC or GMC will be shared between the organisation where possible.

Time will tell whether this protocol helps fulfill the purpose of the Joint Working Framework of improved joint working, more streamlined activity and a reduction in duplication.


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